Category: Featured

EU Commission’s broadband constellation meets industry reservations about co-investment

PARIS — The European Commission is saddling its proposed broadband satellite constellation with so many missions and deadlines that one European industry official suspected the commission may be trying to scuttle its own initiative.
A kinder interpretation is that the Commission is wrestling with a new and difficult project and still testing ideas to see which catch on with prospective government and industry investors.
Whatever the motivation, a series of briefings Jan. 12-13 featuring industry concerns about the constellation’s business case and the Commission’s piling . . .
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For SpaceX, Amazon and other LEO satellite constellations, spectrum and landing rights issues remain

WASHINGTON — Aspiring operators of constellations providing broadband data, OneWeb and Telesat, said they admired prospective competitor Amazon as a company but that Amazon would need to play by the same spectrum-reservation rules as everyone else.
Amazon’s proposed constellation of low-orbiting satellites was one of the recurring topics at the Satellite 2019 conference here May 6-9.
Amazon has said little about its intentions and it is unclear what spectrum it plans to use and what coordination efforts it . . .
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Viasat hitting on all three cylinders with revenue, EBITDA growth; dual Ku-/Ka-band aero antenna a fresh focus

PARIS — Satellite broadband hardware and services provider Viasat Inc. said in-flight connectivity service revenue totaled $150 million for the year ending March 31 on the strength of new in-flight connectivity (IFC)-equipped planes entering service.
The Viasat fleet totaled 1,312 aircraft as of March 31 — up 60% from a year ago — with another 490 in backlog awaiting installation.
The IFC service is lifting Viasat’s Commercial Networks division, which builds the hardware. That division reported a 21% increase in revenue for the year and . . .
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Swedish terminal builder Ovzon, its first satellite to launch in 2021, concludes deals with GetSAT, Intelsat, Hispasat

LUXEMBOURG — Swedish satellite broadband terminal builder Ovzon reported a 15% increase in revenue in the first quarter of 2019 compared to the previous year and posted a 9% operating-profit margin after a loss the year before.
Ovzon also said that after testing Israel-based GetSAT’s mobile communications terminals for land and maritime applications, it will embed GetSAT’s flat-panel technology into Ovzon’s future satcom-on-the-move service.
GetSAT has patented what it calls its InterFLAT technology to handle signal transmission . . .
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China’s commercial satellite and launcher space boom: ‘Thank you Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos’

LUXEMBOURG — More than 50 privately financed Chinese commercial space companies have been created in the last three years, taking advantage of a government policy that encourages private-sector involvement in a former state monopoly.
China's NewSpace movement shows every sign of accelerating, even if there is the risk of a bubble similar to that seen in some niches of the U.S. and European NewSpace sectors.
“Chinese economic growth has been so fast and in the past two years space has gotten into what we call the . . .
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Viasat to design LEO prototype satellite for U.S. Air Force to explore geographic extension of Link 16 tactical system

LUXEMBOURG — Viasat Inc., a well-known bear on low-Earth-orbit constellations for broadband applications, will build a cubesat for the U.S. Air Force to test encrypted narrowband tactical communications to extend coverage of the Link 16 communications system used by the U.S. and allied forces.
Viasat will build the 12u cubesat in time for a launch in mid-2020 under a $10-million contract with the Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles XVI program.
Viasat already provides Link 16 terminals . . .
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U.S. C-Band Alliance proposes to auction 9 20-MHz blocs; 3 can be cleared within 18 months

LUXEMBOURG — The C-Band Alliance of satellite operators proposing to auction off 180 MHz of C-band spectrum to 5G terrestrial network operators in the United States proposed to auction the frequency in nine 20-MHz blocs that it said would optimize the participation of rural and urban bidders.
Three of the nine blocs could be released for 5G deployment within 18 months of an order by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the CBA said.
In a May 21 submission to the FCC . . .
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Panasonic challenges flat-panel antenna builders Ball Aerospace, Kymeta, Phasor on cost & interoperability

WASHINGTON — Electronically steered antenna designers Ball Aerospace, Kymeta and Phasor and aero-connectivity provider Panasonic Avionics said affordable mass-market products were still some ways off for user terminals and that reliability is already an issue for mechanically steered antennas.
Lisa Kuo, director of technical sales at Panasonic, said airlines want antennas and modems that are future-proof, meaning at least 10 years of service before they are obsolete. That means hedging between Ku- and Ka-band equipment.
In a statement . . .
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European trade union says threats to space sector are a jobs issue, defends geographic return

PARIS — A European trade union urged European governments not to tamper with the geographic-return rules long in use at the 22-nation European Space Agency (ESA) and called for the creation of a space technology R&D program similar to the Clean Sky and SESAR efforts in aeronautics.
In a reflection of the growing belief in Europe that the space sector has become an engine for economic growth that now may be under threat, the IndustriAll European Trade Union’s space-policy document asks governments . . .
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Eutelsat: Yes, we missed our revenue target again. Judge us instead on EBITDA margin, cash flow, ROIC

PARIS — Satellite fleet operator Eutelsat said its core broadcast market remains solid and that its poor track record in forecasting annual revenue is less important than hitting its key performance targets on EBITDA margin, free cash flow and return on invested capital.
Paris-based Eutelsat surprised the market on the downside yet again by saying its total revenue for the fiscal year ending June 30 will not be flat from the previous year, but down 3%.
But the company reiterated its EBITDA margin target of at least . . .
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